Jim Cook

Interviewed by: James Lowe
Date of Interview: Fall 2014
Interview Location: Jim Cook's house

James Lowe reports:

"For my oral interview, I will be interviewing my grandfather, Jim Cook. I will be interviewing him because he invested in the mining industry, just as it was beginning to grow. After investing in this mining industry, he and his family benefited dramatically and became wealthy. Coal mines have always been a factor in the advancement of Buchannan County, and I think he would be a good candidate for being interviewed on this topic."

Question: How old were you when you first invested in the mining supply industry?

Cook: About 35.

Question: What was your form of work before selling mining supplies?

Cook: Selling mining supplies for different companies that I wasn’t invested in.

Question: What was the deciding factor that made you decide to join the mining supply industry?

Cook: I was already in it, but decided to follow up on it to further the business.

Question: What kind of sacrifices did you have to make to be involved in this industry?

Cook: : I didn’t really have to sacrifice anything; it was what I already knew, so I stopped selling and continued in the business.

Question: Did you understand the risks before you decided to invest? If so, why did you still invest?

Cook: Yes, I did. It was my form of work, and it was what I knew so I decided to just stay in it.

Question: Did you have to sacrifice a previous job to obtain this new position, or were you guaranteed a position?

Cook: I did not have to sacrifice a previous job; I quit my old job and joined my new job right off the back.

Question: Did you have support from your wife during this time? If so, how?

Cook: Yes, she encouraged me 100%, and stood behind my choices.

Question: Did you have any partners to invest with you, or did you invest alone?

Cook: I had partners to invest with me, which was one of my good friends.

Question: If you did have any partners invest with you, how many are still in the industry today?

Cook: All of my partners are still in the mining business, but not really the supplying industry.

Question: Did you know anyone personally that helped you get started, or did you have to start without help?

Cook: I knew customers and I knew the people in the business. I knew them real well, and they actually were the ones who encouraged me to invest.

Question: Was this investment considered a short or long-term investment?

Cook: Long term, I couldn’t have made a better investment either.

Question: How long did it take your business to become profitable?

Cook: Almost immediately. We already had a plan, and all we had to do was to put it in play. It was a plan almost not able to fail.

Question: Did the decisions you make benefit your family? If so, how?

Cook: Yes, they benefited us financially. It was a good investment, and helped us a lot.

Question: How many supplying businesses did you invest in? Were they all local, or did you invest in out of county businesses?

Cook: We covered a lot of counties. About 6 or more counties were what we covered, all the surrounding counties basically.

Question: How else did the mining industry benefit you and your family?

Cook: It helped us get closer to the community, and helped us get closer to people running the state. We were known the best is Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Question: How did investing in the mining industry affect your life personally?

Cook: It simply made it better. I was way better off, and it made us more independent.

Question: How many years were you involved in the mining business?

Cook: Around 45 years, more like 50. I am still involved in it today technically.

Question: Did you ever individually own your own business?

Cook: I never owned one individually. All my businesses were partnerships.

Question: To this day, are you still involved in the mining industry?

Cook: Yes, some. I retired but I am still involved, but just not in ownership.

Question: Did you enjoy this form of work, or was it a financial decision?

Cook: Both, It was very enjoyable, but it was also a very good financial decision.

Question: What made you decide to sell your share in the business?

Cook: We sold out our permanent business to another company, but I continued to work with that company until I decided to retire.

Question: When you sold your share, do you feel as if it was the right time, or do you think you should have waited longer to sell it?

Cook: It was definitely the right time. I wouldn’t have waited any longer.

Question: Did any of your children continue with the business after you retired? If so, were they successful also?

Cook: No, none of them ever joined to business.

Question: Do you feel as if the decisions you’ve made benefited you more today, or benefited you more in the past?

Cook: Today. It made me financially in good shape, and my hard work back then, has helped me a lot today.

Question: In this day and time, would you still consider this a wise investment?

Cook: Very wise, the fact that the coal business is going down, I’d still consider it a very good investment. We seen the decrease coming in coal coming before it happened.